Bows and crossbows are to be banned from general hunting use in South Australia under planned changes to the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 by the Department of Environment and Water (DEW).
A letter, seen by Sporting Shooter, has been sent out to a number of stakeholders in SA advising them the state government will be banning general hunting via bows or crossbows.
The changes will be accomplished by amending what a Basic Hunting Permit allows, removing the ability for a holder to use a bow or crossbow when hunting — even on private property with landowner permission.
While the changes have not yet been implemented, it is clear they are a done deal despite resistance from the Australian Bowhunters Association and other hunting organisations.
The stakeholder letter acknowledges the changes “may have some impact on your business” and says “the department would better like to understand how the ban can best be implemented”, before requesting the stakeholder’s input via an online feedback portal.
Interestingly, DEW explicitly stated the ban will not apply to landowners, their household, and employees or agents who are culling feral animals causing damage to crops, stock or other property; or to Aboriginal people hunting for food or non-commercial purposes, as these groups are exempted from needing a Basic Hunting Permit to hunt and, as a result, will still be able to employ bows and crossbows for those purposes if they wish.
DEW has also explicitly said bows and crossbows will remain legal to buy and own, and can still be used for archery, arbalistry and other “recreational purposes which do not involve hunting”.
The ban was challenged by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation MP Sarah Game MLC in November.
However, Climate, Environment and Water Minister Kyam Maher said the ALP had a “longstanding commitment to ban hunting with bows and crossbows since before the 2018 election”.
He said this commitment “has been published in letters to the Animal Justice Party and in response to a survey by South Aussies for Animals Inc” — in other words, it was not made public the way election promises are generally supposed to be.
Mr Maher went on to say the ban will not limit hunting with guns, which remained legal, but rejected calls for compensation for sporting goods dealers and hunters affected by the bowhunting ban.
“As it is only the act of hunting animals, specifically birds and mammals, with bow or crossbow in South Australia that will be banned, there is currently no plan to compensate business or hunters,” he said.
“Bow hunting equipment will not be rendered useless as this ban will not limit the use or ownership of bows or crossbows for purposes not involving the killing of birds or mammals.
“For example, owners will still be able to use their archery equipment for target archery or bow hunting in other jurisdictions where it remains legal.”
Currently there is no announced timeframe for the ban’s implementation but it is very much a case of when, not if.